Today’s 10 points:
1. The defense played better than I ever anticipated it would given the circumstances. Big ups to the defensive line, especially Pat Williams who got back to being Pat Williams after, I thought, a weak first few games. And big ups to Karl Paymah who not only did not embarrass himself, but actually played pretty well. Oh, and Asher Allen gets some love too for his drive-ending strip of Ben Roethlisberger (which the Vikings might have recovered had Ray Edwards just fallen on it).
That being said, I think the Steelers did the Vikings a major favor by not attacking deep more. They gashed the secondary late in the second quarter to score an easy touchdown (Fox’s Jimmy Johnson rightfully criticized the soft zone defense the Vikings played there), and might have run up bigger totals in the second half had they stuck with that. Then again, maybe the Steelers were just reacting to the Vikings’ pressure, which was fairly heavy on Big Ben for much of the game. If the Steelers did indeed fail to exploit the secondary because the pressure was too great, then more kudos to the D-line.
2. I think someone may have slipped me some Favre Kool Aid, because all I want to do is defend the guy. Yes, it’s true, Brett did commit the two turnovers that not only killed two scoring drives but resulted directly in 14 points for the Steelers. The fumble was on him as I’m sure he’d admit, but still, give credit to the Steelers for making a play there. And the interception was of course 75% on Chester Taylor if not more. Fact is, without Favre, we never would’ve been in position to possibly score on either of those drives. Without Favre we would be a 4-3 team right now at best. A couple of bad plays do not erase the good stuff he’s done. So, Packer fans who keep talking about the “Favre stomach punch” and gloating over his failures, go back to crying in your stale beer. And get ready for an ass-whipping at your place.
3. I don’t believe in ref-bashing – haven’t believed in it ever since I witnessed some officials being booed off a high school field by a bunch of idiots who don’t understand football – but, that being said, there was some bad officiating in yesterday’s game, and it hurt the Vikings. The tripping call on Jeff Dugan was a joke. And there was a hold called on Bryant McKinnie that probably shouldn’t have been. And there was that inexplicable delay of game penalty for someone on the defense allegedly making an unnatural motion to try and force a false start. Of course, there were other penalties that the Vikings absolutely deserved. A ridiculous number of procedural/pre-snap penalties – Visanthe Shiancoe should be ashamed of himself – and of course Benny Sapp’s imbecilic personal foul for diving at Big Ben as he was going out of bounds.
In the final analysis, yes the refs hurt the Vikes with bad calls, but the Vikes hurt themselves worse with penalties they deserved.
4. Sidney Rice is a Pro Bowl wide receiver. That catch he made on the sidelines, keeping his feet in-bounds, was like the glory days of Randy Moss and Cris Carter. People are going to have to start slapping a double-team on him and then look out for Percy Harvin and Visanthe Shiancoe.
5. I laughed out-loud when Brian Robison came up after trapping a ball and motioned for Chilly to throw the challenge flag, after Chilly had already lost one challenge. Chilly just ignored him, and I thought that was priceless. Replays showed that Robison didn’t even come close to catching that ball.
Of course Chilly’s bad record of challenges has been well-documented. But, yesterday, he actually redeemed himself a little by winning a big one, challenging the original ruling that Rice was out-of-bounds on his sick toe-dragging sideline catch and getting the reversal. Had Chilly not challenged that one, we would be bashing him right now. Really bad.
6. Adrian Peterson only had 69 rushing yards yesterday, his third-lowest total of the season. But he made up for it by having his best receiving game of the year, catching 4 balls for 60 yards including an already-legendary 29-yarder at the expense of William Gay, who now knows what a porcupine feels like when it gets hit by an SUV. Of course, Peterson might’ve had an even bigger impact on the game had Chilly elected to hand him the ball at the goalline rather than call two straight failed pass plays then settle for a chip-shot field goal.
7. On Chilly’s playcalling during the above-mentioned goalline situation: I said on Twitter that I wouldn’t bash Chilly hard because, if you’ve got Favre, you expect him to get the touchdown. And I stand by that. Maybe it would’ve been smarter to just hand the ball to AD three straight times, even four straight given how close they were to the goalline, but frankly, Peterson has gotten stuffed in short-yardage situations a lot in his career – way more than you would expect from a guy who’s supposed to be some great power-back – so, I can understand why Chilly might prefer to put his trust in The Favre there.
8. Bernard Berrian‘s apparent pulled hamstring is an issue. That’s the sort of thing that can linger the whole season and, frankly, we need Berrian, who has become the #1 target on slants and quick-hitters at the line (Greg Lewis doesn’t cut the mustard on those). It might be wise to sit him against the Packers, even if he’s able to play, giving him two straight off-weeks with the bye.
9. Shame on the people who say Jeff Dugan ran over that official on purpose. What video are you watching? That was clearly an accident. If the league even so much as investigates the matter, well, they are idiots too.
10. Moose Johnston is now my favorite Fox analyst. I think he’s insightful, fair and non-hypey. If they’d just get rid of that idiot Tony Siragusa, the Kenny Albert/Moose team would be an excellent one.
Tags: Adrian Peterson Asher Allen Ben Roethlisberger Bernard Berrian Brad Childress Brett Favre Bryant Mckinnie Chester Taylor Green Bay Packers Jeff Dugan Karl Paymah Minnesota Vikings Pat Williams Percy Harvin Pittsburgh Steelers Randy Moss Ray Edwards Sidney Rice Visanthe Shiancoe William Gay